Coroner McLeod, staff reaching out to save babies lives

Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 7:32 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Corner’s Office has gone ahead and entered into a partnership with an organization dedicated to preventing infant deaths due to unsafe sleeping environments.

Coroner Warren McLeod wants to spread the word that the safest way for a baby to sleep is alone, on their backs, in a bare, safety-approved crib.

Thousands of such deaths occur each year across the country, the vast majority are accidental and nearly three-quarters are attributed to bed sharing, according to McLeod.

McLeod said while he saw this type of death many times when he worked in Nevada, he encountered it for the first time in Lewis County this spring, when a 3-month-old girl suffocated sleeping with her mother. It can happen as easily as something as light as a kleenex falling over the mouth and nose, he said.

The coroner’s office is now partnered with Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative, headquartered in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

The coroner’s endeavor will include teaching new parents and caregivers about safe sleep practices as well as working to get cribs into the hands of new parents who cannot afford them.

McLeod is making representatives from his office available to speak to civic groups about the initiative and how they can make donations.

Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been reducing the rate of infant sleep-related deaths by educating parents and by providing portable cribs to families who otherwise cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. All education is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for infant sleep safety.

The cost of a crib, including shipping, is $60.

McLeod’s goal is to raise money to have enough of the portable cribs on hand so that local law enforcement and fire departments can reach out to his office when they come across a parent who can’t afford a safe sleeping environment.

Babies should never sleep on a couch, armchair or soft surface, according to  the American Academy of Pediatrics. And bed sharing remains the greatest risk factor for sleep related infant deaths, the AAP states.

The 2016 updated recommendations on infant sleep safety from AAP draw on new research and include:

• Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.

• Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.

• Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns one but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

• Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

For background, read “Centralia infant exposed to meth smoke died of something different” from Friday July 7, 2017, here

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2 Responses to “Coroner McLeod, staff reaching out to save babies lives”

  1. Sherman says:

    Mr. Peabody, you can run but you can’t hide in the WAYBAC machine.

  2. therealtomorr says:

    Does this mean that they will stop putting fluoride, a poisonous neuro-toxin, in the water supply?

    Western science doesn’t know enough about the human brain and neurological system to conclude that ANY amount of a deadly neuro-toxin is safe.

    And, anybody who tells you that ANY amount of neuro-toxin is “safe” in low doses is nothing more than a liar and a fraud.

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